I don’t know you and I never will.

Your life was ripped away from you before our paths could cross, but I feel for you.

They’re saying your killer was a homophobe who established a murderous plot because he saw two men kissing. An act of love drove your killer to walk into a nightclub and open fire onto you, ending your beautiful life.

Did you love the song that was playing so much that you never wanted to get off the dance floor? Did your boyfriend/girlfriend smile at you as you moved your feet to the music? Did you wonder why there was a popping sound coming from the back of the club and just assume it was part of the show? Did you watch as your best friend fell lifeless onto the ground before you could realize what was happening? I wonder, up until you felt the warm metal of a bullet shatter through your skin, were you having the best night ever?

I can’t imagine the fear that you felt and I wish I could have held you close and promised help was on the way. Or taken your hand to reassure you you weren’t alone while you took your last breath.

Because even now you are not alone.

You see, I’m gay too.

Like you I was born to love whoever I wanted because it is the right thing to do. Love cannot be defined into a clear label. Something so pure should have no definition and simply be what it is, love.

Feeling the warmth of your partner as they pull you in for an embrace. The surge of happiness when their fingers intertwine with yours. The assurance that everything in this world will be okay when their lips touch yours, a kiss.

A kiss that one man saw and felt so much hate that he decided to end your life.

A selfish act of hate that sadly trumped all of the love that you had inside of you.

But for you I will continue to love. I will take all of the love that was ripped from your body that night and use it to spread a message that your memory will forever carry. That at the end of the day love is the same in all forms. I will not let the hate that ended your life be the final chapter.

I will stand up for you and the love that you so desperately couldn’t deny and shouldn’t have to deny. I will use all of my love to overcome acts of hate like the one you fell victim to.

Your life didn’t deserve to end scared on a cold, damp night club floor because of hate. So for you, I will continue to love just like you should have been allowed. I will not apologize for that love. I hope now, though your life was cut before its time, that you will find solace in knowing your death was not in vain. May you rest in the sweetest of peace.

Forever yours,

Chantel

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